DETROIT-The leader of the most successful development corporation in Michigan is switching real estate jobs, to one with an automaker thanks to the recent election. General Motors Corp. has named Michigan Economic Development Corp. CEO Doug Rothwell executive director ofworldwide real estate.

Rothwell, 46, will stay with the MEDC until the end of the year. He has spearheaded Michigan’s economic development programs since 1993 when he was appointed by Gov. John Engler to oversee the MichiganJobs Commission, which later became the MEDC.

Engler, a Republican, stepped down this year.

In his new position, Rothwell will oversee GM’s 350-million-sf global real estate portfolio. Rothwell also will focus on economic development efforts in communities that are key to GM business.

He reports to Matthew Cullen, general manager for GM Economic Development & Enterprise Services.

“Rothwell has a proven track record,” Cullen says. “He brings with him a wealth of experience in the real estate development market and has made Michigan a leader in attracting and retaining businesses. That experience and his understanding of the economic development process make him a great addition to our team.”

During Rothwell’s tenure, the MEDC led the nation in new or expanded business locations for five years in a row, according to Site SelectionMagazine. The American Economic Development Council has named him Outstanding Economic Developer of the Year.

Rothwell has led the MEDC to help expand or build hundreds of Michigan facilities, as well as assist with tax breaks for technology parks,Renaissance Zones, laboratory and other life science space, as well as every conceivable development in every market in the state.

Jennifer Owens, a spokeswoman for the MEDC, tells the public/private agency’s exec committee will be work closely with newGovernor Jennifer Granholm’s transition team to find a director.

“They’re expecting to have someone in place by Jan. 1,” Owens says.

GM designs, builds and markets cars and trucks worldwide and employs about 355,000 people around the world.

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